Marvel Heroes: An Unexpected Return

Human Torch 1

Something unexpected happened while I was recovering from my recent surgery: I had a random urge to play Marvel Heroes again. I was really excited about Marvel Heroes when it first came out, because I’ve recently become a fan of this particular flavor of ARPG. Ever since I picked up Torchlight (I never got into Diablo, but Torchlight, especially its sequel, really clicked with me), I’ve dreamed of a Diablo-style MMO. So when I stumbled upon a random beta gameplay video of Marvel Heroes, I was pretty excited. I actually considered buying one of the hero packs, but decided they were (and are) overpriced. It’s a free-to-play, no need to commit cash until you know it’s worth playing, and I’m not sure I would notice the difference between the Iron Man suit from the third movie and any other costume.

When the game came out, I picked The Thing for my first character. I usually enjoy tank classes (I loved my engineer in Torchlight 2) so I figured Thing fit the bill. Unfortunately he felt slow, had uninteresting powers, didn’t do much damage, and was just generally not that fun to play. I was more than a little jealous as I watched Storm and Spider-Man and Rocket Raccoon blow their way through groups of mobs while I plodded my way through one at a time (I just got out-DPSed by an animal who eats out of garbage cans, how embarrassing). The game got a little more interesting when they gave me a second starter character character for free, Hawkeye. He’s mostly built for crowd control, which I also sometimes enjoy in the right balance. He was fun for a while, but by level 20 or so I could tell he wasn’t going to be much fun to level. Also, I was a little frustrated with the launch rush overpopulation and the general overpricedness of the game. The game isn’t quite pay-to-win, but it certainly isn’t pay-for-hats either. It’s more like pay-to-be-awesome: you can have a good experience and not pay a dime, but if you want to play as your favorite heroes, you’re going to have to shell out some money. In the end, I chalked Heroes up to the category of a good idea with poor execution and moved on.

Then I saw a Massively article about the game’s 2.0 patch, with a new zone and, more importantly, new heroes added to the starter lineup. I’m not sure why, but that was all it took to suck me back in. Continue reading